For many Massachusetts residents, factors such as food prices, proximity to grocery stores, household income, transportation, and lack of knowledge about how to cook and store food can present barriers to reliably buying and consuming fresh, healthy, local food. Many health problems, as well as irregular school attendance, poor job performance, and other concerns, can be linked to poor diet and food insecurity. While every municipality in the Commonwealth is affected to some degree by these circumstances, the burden is usually heaviest on communities with residents who are lower - income, people of color, seniors, or disabled.
The goals and recommendations of this section focus on long-term, sustainable strategies to increase access to, and consumption of, healthy, locally produced food as part of overall efforts to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Massachusetts. These goals and recommendations emphasize market-based solutions that support many of the other goals of this plan, including increasing local food production, ensuring the economic viability of local farms, and reducing food waste. Finally, this section emphasizes strategies that are geared to reduce social inequities in access to healthy food and increase the quality and number of food system jobs.